Best Available Technologies (BAT)

Best Available Technology can be though of as the product that delivers the best value to the client over the long term (think one century). It also means a high-quality and high-performance product which has the least impact on the building's environment - 'Eco' products. When compared to alternate products, Eco products works as intended for a relatively longer period of time, while being environmentally friendly and non-toxic. 

Some products can be relatively environmentally friendly because you might never need to dispose of it. Example: Is a cheap screwdriver made of recycled material an 'Eco' product if it breaks the first time you use it? (Answer is NO.) True Eco products almost always have a lower life-cycle cost of ownership when compared to a less durable product.

To meet our intended 100 year service life for our buildings, we must select highly durable products. 'Best available technologies' and the associated best practices for their installation are incorporated into our designs. In remote areas it can be quite expensive to bring in highly qualified personnel required for installation of a particular high-quality product, therefore we select modular solutions and manufactured solutions to reduce skilled labour in remote areas. Product selection requires highly qualified design personnel to incorporate the 'best' possible technologies and construction personnel for a particular context.

Classification of BAT is subjective and always involves consultations with highly qualified personnel knowledgeable about the product or system and how it would be installed and perform in the proposed application. Durability is always considered as one (if not the) of the most important criteria for selection among alternative products or systems, this also ensure the lifecycle cost is as low as possible.

Molson Construction has a database of products on the market that are classified as "good", "better", and "best". We do not classify products that do not make the "good" cut.

Ex.: Now a day, anyone can buy a cheap 'eco-friendly' toilet with a poorly designed fill valve that can be expected to fail in the first year of installation (and therefore result in all sorts of wasted water). This is not an eco-friendly option, nor does it reflect acceptable product selection rationale. Generally, products that are the 'best' cost more upfront and less as time goes on. A litmus test for a product that is the 'best' is the way it holds onto its value over time when used/serviced in the intended manner.

Best doesn't mean the latest and greatest, nor does it mean the most technologically advanced (i.e., a fridge that knows it's inventory and re-orders food - for example!); however it doesn't exclude these necessarily either. Typically, reliability is reduced as complexity of a product is increased, so simplicity in system is usually something to strive for in the product selection phase. Our insistence on high quality products is intended to reduce unplanned maintenance costs, which is an unacceptable for our clients. Our commitment to our clients satisfaction with their building does not end when we receive final payment for services rendered, nor does it when a warranty expires. The success of our solutions is a testimony to our design and construction abilities, and our client testimonies can then become our most valuable marketing tool.

Here's a paradox that will help illustrate our rationale for product selection emphasizing lifecycle costs. Ever wondered why affordable housing in cold climates almost always has electrical heat? Because it is the cheapest to install. The project gets approved. It is also the most expensive over the lifecycle of the project. The lack of air ducts for supplying fresh air results in occupants often opening windows (in the winter!). The electrical baseboard heaters are often placed below these windows and most of the heat escapes to the exterior. The true lifecycle costs are not considered. This is the opposite of our value proposition: incompetent designers provide ridiculous solutions. Also, a well-built stupid product is still a stupid product.

Also noteworthy is that 'best' is always contextual. The building and its occupants interact as a system. 'Best' means most appropriate for the needs (comfort, enjoyment...) of the occupants. Best products don't always produce best results. Depending on the context, having a 'best product' incorporated in your building in the wrong way can clearly reduce the value transferred to the owner/occupant. Ex.: A large (expensive) triple glazed window facing the neighbour's vinyl siding. This of course is incompetent design, but it illustrates that the system comprising the building and its occupants and their interactions requires all elements to be considered in the context of each other. 

Ex.: A typical household fridge cools food and dumps heat into the kitchen. A typical air conditioning system takes that same heat dumped from the refrigerator and expends extra energy to transfer it to the building's exterior. Wouldn't it be better to ventilate the waste heat from the fridge more directly? In the winter, couldn't the cold exterior remove heat from the fridge / freezer for free? A related example is heat recovery ventilators. They have revolutionized home comfort (and air quality and energy efficiency...) by allowing simultaneously increased air exchange rate and reduced heat loss. Needless to say, we don't build homes without heat-recovery ventilators. But you can easily find contractors that do! They'll tell you that it saves money... (as does eating cheap fast food all the time... right?!) Again, save money now and pay for it later. 

Molson Construction operates using only the best-available-technologies. We apply this concept  both internally and externally:
  • internally as a company, we focus on cutting edge enterprise application software, design and construction tools;
  • externally as part of a client's project, we focus on providing products which as part of a building system work toward net-zero carbon-footprint and Energy Star buildings performance, LEED certification, and 100 year durability and service life designs with low maintenance requirements.

Many environmental or "green"  technologies we incorporate into our designs focus on "energy use efficiency" (refer to the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings), others focus on clean energy production. We also rule out technologies that are inherently toxic or harmful to the health of both the internal (built) and external environments.
Comments